Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday Hodge-Podge (8-30-11)

  • Free R.C. Sproul!!
  • You need to read this (especially parents and pastors) tragic story of a girl who loved Jesus music but not Jesus.
  • Be missional at the workplace- read here.
  • Happy (belated) Birthday William Carey! Learn from him.
  • Michael Horton offers some interesting insight on those who hold to both Reformed and Charismatic views.
  • Justin Taylor relays 10 reasons to stop defining yourself by what you are against. This is a helpful read.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Coming March 18, 2012...

For more information about Cross Point Church go HERE.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Institutional or Incarnational?

What is your church's approach to church life and ministry? While programs and events can be useful tools the proverbial tail could wag the dog. Churches don't exist to spin an endless cycle of attract people to bring in money to sustain programs to attract more people to bring in more money to... well you get the idea. Bid buildings, big staffs, and big programs are not wrong- in fact there are many Biblical churches that have those things but those churches also have an incarnational approach to ministry... pursuing Christ and His glory in all things.

Here's a brief comparison of two approaches to ministry...

Institutional Approach to Ministry:

1. Based on consumerism (hooking people with what they want)
2. Buildings are essential
3. Purposes/ responsibilities of the church are carried out through programs
4. Sunday worship is one more program that is people-focused
5. The home is a separate place from church life & ministry
6. Stronger faith= More program participation
7. Ministry= Only possible by taking leadership in a program or committee
8. Fellowship is found with those of similar lifestyle and age
9. Church is the building and events
10. Attract people to programs with programs

Incarnational Approach to Ministry:
1. Based on Christ's example
2. Relationships are essential
3. Purposes/ responsibilities are carried out through relationships
4. Sunday worship is gathering/ equipping point that is God-focused
5. The home is central to church life & ministry
6. Stronger faith= God's Word lived out in home and community
7. Ministry= Using your spiritual gifts in home and through relationships with others
8. Fellowship is found with those of common faith
9. Church is the people who are united by covenant and common confession
10. Attract people to the gospel by the gospel (in proclamation and demonstration)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Church Name

I know I mentioned about my next post being on the relational-aspect of the church plant and explaining more the home group component of church life but I'm going to put that off by one post. Instead I wanted to share the name of the church plant and why. Our church will be called:

Cross Point Church

Naming a church is more difficult than naming a child (there's more people in the decision process)! This name is chosen because it meets the criteria: simple, unique to our area, and avoids reasonable and negative presuppositions (no one is likely to jump to conclusions based on the name about the church holding to un-Biblical beliefs or practices). More importantly the name points to Christ our King and His redemptive work on the cross. We want everything we do to point to this and so the name fits.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The DNA of the Beaumont Church Plant

I've been getting a lot of questions regarding the DNA or nature of the church our core group will be planting in the Spring of 2012 in Beaumont. What kind of church will it be? How will it be different? These are questions I've heard over and over. They are good questions. Let me make a few things clear about the church. First we will be confessional. Our church planting partners will be those that affirm the Baptist Faith and Message and our church members must affirm the Abstract of Principles (1858). The doctrines articulated in these statements of faith will represent the doctrinal positions of our church. Our members must agree principally to these doctrines and agree to encourage unity regarding them.

Second, we will be organic in structure. That may sound like a contradiction but it is not. The Bible provides clear structure for the local church-- recognized membership, two offices of leadership (pastor and deacon), discipline, and congregational worship on the Lord's Day. However we will seek to be organic in those areas where Scripture gives us liberty. Rather than prescribe programs for evangelism, discipleship, fellowship, ministry, etc we will grow in these areas through organic methods such as home-based groups. We will utilize these groups and the relationships they foster to advance the gospel and grow in the areas previously mentioned (more on this point in my next post).

Third, we will be missional. I know this is an overused and at times abused term but I am using it for its simpliest meaning. To be missional is to live out the mission to spread the gospel every day and in every way. We will teach and expect our members to be missional. The context of the home groups will provide a platform for this missional living. Finally, and most important, we will be Biblical. I pray this is not unique. In fact I know of many Biblical churches and we aim to add to their number for the glory of our King. The Bible will be at the center of all that we do-- in worship, in our fellowship, and in our corporate witness as a congregation.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Invisible made Visible

Here is an excellent quote by Mark Dever in an interview with Ed Stetzer about the church:

"The church... is a display of God's own character. We have an invisible God in the Bible. How does He make Himself visible? Is it through icons? We don't have any record of Jesus teaching His disciples to draw or paint or sculpt. He started the church... Our non-Christian friends should see what Jesus is like through the church."

Go HERE to watch the entire interview.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tuesday Hodge-Podge (8-9-11)

  • I found Brian Croft's post on sermon length to be corrective and instructive.
  • Just saw that Pilgrim's Progress is available in Kindle edition for free!
  • A while back I posted a link to Kevin DeYoung's blog post about church singing. Here is part two (he has a link to part one).
  • Mike McKinley has a really helpful website titled Am I Really a Christian?
  • Below is a video with D.A. Carson, John Piper, and Tim Keller on internet accountability and sexual purity... must watch:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Next Steps

In case you didn't read my last post (just scroll down) I'll be concluding my ministry at Memorial at the end of the year to plant a new church in Beaumont. Over these next five months I'll be helping them through the transition/ pastor-search process as well as continuing my regular responsibilities of preaching and shepherding my flock.

There's no denying that we've faced some significant challenges over the last 3 1/2 years but I love my fellow church members and continue to desire to see the Word of God shape this church to His glory. Please pray for these next few months that my ministry would be a help toward this. Second, pray the Lord would prepare them to receive and follow the next pastor. Finally, pray for the next pastor- whoever he may be.

Now while I continue as pastor at MBC I'll also be diving head-long into the church planting process. Here are the next few steps and things you all (whoever you all may be) can be praying for:

1. My hope and goal is to "launch" with ten core group families. We are 3 families toward that goal and will begin meeting together during the week for prayer, planning, fellowship, and Bible study in late August. Pray the Lord would gather more to help with this endeavor (particularly those strong in their faith and like-minded in building the church on Biblical truth). Pray for our core group gatherings that the Lord would strengthen our bond and resolve.

2. In addition to the core group families, a second hope and goal is to assemble a coalition of at least ten partnering churches. We need churches who will contribute financially toward this new work on a monthly basis to bridge the gap while we "make disciples" and bring in more contributing families/ individuals to the church. We also need churches who, though cannot financially contribute monthly would help with one-time offerings or by "man-power" help for special projects (mission teams). Presently I've had five pastors express a firm desire to lead their churches to partner at some level and others who have shared a willingness to pray about it. I envision a great opportunity for many churches to work together and be strengthened in their efforts. So pray the Lord would put this need on the heart of congregations.

3. I'll keep everyone updated through my blog and be watching for the church name and launch date to be made official in the next two weeks. Thank you for your prayers and the many of you who have offered your encouragement and words affirmation!

Soli Deo Gloria!